STILLWATER, Okla. — Loryn Goodwin has played for a lot of universities in her collegiate career, but Monday night was her last time playing somewhere she truly felt at home.
Goodwin made the most of it.
The graduate transfer scored at will from all over the court, taking every punch, literally and figuratively, and fought back all night.
The result was an 85-72 victory for her Oklahoma State squad against TCU in Gallagher-Iba Arena for Goodwin’s and three fellow Cowgirls’ senior nights.
The literal punch Goodwin took was a shot to the ribs near the end of the third quarter that knocked the breath out of her. She was doubled over in pain, but she knew she would get right back up.
“Don’t kick a pit bull,” Goodwin said. “I think she hit me pretty hard and knocked the breath out of me. I know when we went to TCU, one of her players was hurt and she was out for the game. When I went down, I think they thought the same thing. I was coming back in.”
After the hit, Goodwin went on a personal inspired run and where the Cowgirls had been fading, she turned the heat back on against the Horned Frogs (18-11, 9-9 Big 12).
“They kicked the Pit bull and the Pit bull got mad,” OSU coach Jim Littell said. “She got after it after that. She had a little fire in her eyes. … You saw a different look in her eye.”
Goodwin finished with her fifth 30-point game in battle where neither team would give up an inch throughout the first three quarters until the Cowgirls (20-9, 11-7) pulled away in the final frame.
In a long career jumping from school to school, Goodwin looked up at the scoreboard after the game for her first senior night video, where she said “Oklahoma State was the one place she felt at home.”
For her, Kaylee Jensen, Mandy Coleman and Katarina Adamovic, it was an emotional moment, especially the four-year senior pair of Coleman and Jensen.
Four years ago, the duo came to Stillwater and battled for the backup spot to then starting center LaShawn Jones. Monday night, they played their last home game as one of the most imposing frontcourts in OSU history.
Jensen scored 18 points and brought in 13 rebounds; Coleman had 12 and four. Littell said there couldn’t have been a better ending for those three seniors.
“It’s a perfect ending,” Littell said. “They all played well, they all contributed. They played 34, 35 and 40 minutes. You want your seniors to go out that way.”
After the game was in hand, Jensen said it began to hit her how much she was going to miss playing in the arena in front of the OSU faithful. Beforehand, when the seniors were honored, she said there weren’t any tears but it was a different story afterward.
“It was great to see all the love and support that people, especially our families have given us the past four years,” Jensen said.
While there is still the postseason, Littell said Jensen will go down as one of the Cowgirls’ biggest success stories after being recruited very little coming out of Genoa, Nebraska. For Goodwin, it was a dream come true this season playing in the Big 12 and she was happy that she finally had a senior day.
“At other schools, I was always almost a senior,” Goodwin said. “I always almost did the senior announcements but this was surreal. It was like an out of body experience because I had never been in this position. This was really it for me.”
For Coleman, Littell said he thought she played one of her best games of her career in the orange and black after he didn’t play her in the second half of the Cowgirls’ victory at West Virginia on Saturday.
“Mandy Coleman is so unselfish,” Littell said. “She got the ball where it needed to be. … She really wanted to play tonight and I thought she played one of her better games as a Cowgirl.”
Along with the seniors’ excellence, the future continued to look bright with freshman Braxtin Miller scoring 20 points after she scored 23 against the Mountaineers over the weekend.
While the Cowgirls were in a lull last week after losing three-straight games, Littell said because of what he has seen the past two games and also production of Maria Castro off the bench, he thinks the team is peaking right now.
“I wouldn’t have said that a couple of games ago,” Littell said. “We have been up and down. I think Jim Littell and Mike Boynton have experienced some roller coaster rides this year.”
The win gave the Cowgirls their 16th 20-win season in program history, seven coming in Littell’s eight seasons at the helm as he earned his 20th such feat. The 11 conference victories are tied for the best in team history.
Even with the accolades, the Cowgirls are still on the fence when it comes to the NCAA Tournament as the traditionally strong Big 12 is not getting respect this year. Littell said no matter what happens with the Oklahoma-Texas game Tuesday night – which determines who is the No. 3 or 4 team in the conference – he thinks the Cowgirls should get in.
“I know it‘s a different year and they’re talking less teams from the Big 12,” Littell said. “But to get 11 wins in this conference, I think we have earned it.”